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EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY: Love Complicated by Teegan Loy

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Blurb

Life is all about making choices. Some are complicated. Some are simple. But for eighteen-year-old Jalen Marten, none are easy. Jalen has managed to stay invisible for his entire high school career. He has a small group of friends, and it’s enough for him. He doesn’t want or crave attention from his peers. All Jalen wants is to survive high school.

Austin Suter is the hot, talented tennis player who has the entire school bowing at his feet. Girls routinely throw themselves at him, and boys like Jalen stay the hell out of his way. Austin is destined for greatness on the world stage of professional tennis.

The kiss between them wasn’t supposed to happen. Falling in love definitely hadn’t been part of Jalen’s plan.

And when Austin turns pro, Jalen begins to realize that the choices he makes will affect Austin’s life. One wrong choice and Austin’s career could be over before it really begins. Jalen is not sure where he fits, or even if he fits at all in Austin’s life. But the more complicated things become, the less the idea of being apart appeals. Love should simplify things, not complicate them.      

Excerpt

The locker room reeked of socks that hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine since the beginning of the semester. This place was the second worst part of my day in high school. The first was walking through the front door.

But gym class was its own private hell. I didn’t dislike sports; I just wasn’t any good at them. The kids loved to humiliate me on the court, in the water, on the field, or wherever the teacher had us. I’d been smashed in the face with a basketball, volleyball, soccer ball, and every other ball invented by humans.

Today my class was playing tennis, which was worse, because not only was there a ball, but also a racket. It increased my chances of getting hurt by tenfold. And I really wanted to survive my final year of high school and not die from embarrassment in gym class. I’d made it through the first sport of the year, soccer, by sticking to the sidelines and pretending to participate by running away from the ball.

This morning my mom came home from work as I was leaving for school, and I begged her to write me some sort of note to excuse me from tennis. She declined and told me to get more involved at school. What good was having a surgical nurse for a mother if she wouldn’t help her only kid out of a jam? And what did participating in gym class have to do with getting involved at school? I couldn’t get involved if I was in a coma or dead.

I started to argue with her, but the dark circles under her eyes and the heavy sigh that fell from her lips made me ease off. I kissed her on the cheek and told her to get some rest.

So now my only hope of not playing tennis was a freak rainstorm, and from the way the sun was shining, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I had no choice but to change, hide among my classmates, and hope Mr. Tames, my sadistic gym teacher, didn’t pick me to play.

Most of the kids were excited to be outside and acted like monkeys just released from their cages. They jumped on one another and hollered all the way out to the courts.

I hoped my quiet demeanor would help me blend into the background. Unfortunately my stellar plan didn’t work. Mr. Tames handed me a tennis racket and paired me with a hockey player named Kasey. Our first opponents were another music nerd and a regular kid. I stayed out of Kasey’s way as he raced around the court, destroying them. We won the match, and Kasey high-fived me by smacking me on the forehead. I scowled at him, because if we had lost, I could have sat down and celebrated getting out of gym class unscathed.

Our next match was against a soccer player and Austin Suter, who had been pegged as the next Wimbledon champion. At least that’s what he told everyone.

He was a pretty boy with full lips and light brown wavy hair that brushed his shoulders. Girls routinely threw themselves at him, and boys like me stayed the hell out of his way. One smoldering look from him and I’d have to walk around school with a book in front of my crotch. Admiring him from afar was the best I could manage.

“Hey, Austin,” my partner shouted across the net. “I’m going to shove this ball down your throat.”

“You’re going to be eating yours,” Austin shot back. His partner gave him a fist bump. Kasey and Austin exchanged a few more verbal warnings. I fiddled with the strings on my racket, and pretended to listen to Kasey’s game plan. Austin’s partner dutifully held his racket while Austin pulled his hair into a ponytail.

“Gentlemen,” Mr. Tames warned. “Enough trash talk. Start the game.”

I groaned and resisted raising my hand to ask to be dismissed. They spun a racket to see who served first. Austin sneered and Kasey growled.

It was supposed to be a friendly game, but the testosterone roared, and the game quickly turned cutthroat. I managed to stay out of Kasey’s way and every ball hit in my direction. I even accidentally returned one. The shot startled Austin and he missed. Mr. Tames whooped and pumped his fist. I should have taken the moment to demand an A.

“Lucky shot, blondie,” Austin shouted at me.

Kasey flipped him off and got yelled at by Mr. Tames again. The students surrounding the court yelled for someone’s head on a platter. I was pretty sure it was me they wanted served up for lunch.

The intensity of the game increased with each returned ball and I started to fear for my life when one zinged by my ear.

“Take it easy, Austin,” Mr. Tames shouted when Austin tried to nail Kasey in the balls. “Jalen, you don’t move this well when you’re playing dodgeball. The point of this game is to actually make contact with the ball. At least attempt to use your racket.”

I rolled my eyes and readied for the next point. Austin served to Kasey, who somehow got his racket on the ball and it popped over the net. The ball seemed to hover in the air, giving me time to figure out I had a bull’s-eye painted on my forehead. Austin raised his racket and connected with the ball, which connected with my face. Who knew a tennis ball felt like a giant rock when smashed into your eye socket. My racket clattered to the ground, and I covered my face to make sure my eyeball didn’t actually fall out.

Austin must have hurdled the net, because he was suddenly kneeling next to me and breathing down my neck. I tried to crawl away from him and his stupid apologies, but he caught me and helped me to my feet. Tames barked orders to set me on the bench while he went for medical supplies. Austin put his arm around my waist and I limped to the bench. The other guys hooted and hollered at me until Austin shot a scowl at them and quieted the entire gym class.

“Is your ankle okay?” Austin asked.

“My ankle is fine,” I snarled and sat down. “Limping makes my eye feel better.”

RC

Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: A book from Teegan’s backlist

Click here or on the image to enter the Rafflecopter

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Buy Link

Dreamspinner Press 

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About the author

Teegan Loy began writing a long time ago. Notebooks filled with ideas were stacked around the house. One day, she sat down with renewed ambition and something fantastic happened; she completed a story. (unbelievable, but true) Now most of her time is spent writing, but she takes an occasional break to go to the movies, where she imagines her stories on the big screen. She also enjoy watching hockey (love, love hockey) filling her iPod with music, and driving her daughter around town (amended…around the country) to various activites.

Where to find the author:

Facebook.com/teegan.loy

Twitter.com/teeganloy

Teeganloy.wordpress.com

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6449698.Teegan_Loy


Tour Dates & Stops

Banner300x250 (1)11-May

Amanda C. Stone

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

12-May

BFD Book Blog

13-May

Inked Rainbow Reads

14-May

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Carly’s Book Reviews

15-May

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Mikky’s World of Books

Bayou Book Junkie

18-May

As The Pages Turn

Boys on the Brink Reviews

19-May

Rainbow Gold Reviews

The Novel Approach

Bike Book Reviews

20-May

Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My

Cate Ashwood

21-May

Divine Magazine

MM Good Book Reviews

22-May

Love Bytes

Prism Book Alliance

Chris McHart

Molly Lolly

Hearts on Fire

WillPride

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Fancy some Ice Hockey or Figure Skating?

I felt like a dose of sports and decided Ice Hockey would fit the bill nicely and luckily I had two great books to read. Both involved Ice Hockey, one with a dash of curling and the other with some figure skating. I’m not exactly sure what it is about Ice Hockey that I like so much – I’m Australian, don’t follow the sport and definitely don’t know anything about the game rules or competition. I think it’s the combination of strength, speed and control.

The books I selected were:

  • Burning Up the Ice (book #5 International Men Of Sports) by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes.
  • Picks & Pucks by Teegan Loy

Burning Up the Ice (International Men of Sports, #5)Burning Up the Ice by T.A. Chase and Devon Rhodes

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Two men, two very different sports and one rink—sharing ice has never been so hot.

Olivier ‘Big Bang’ St Pierre is back in his hometown while he recovers from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hockey’s a contact sport—still, he didn’t count on the locker room being dangerous. As a professional hockey player, he also didn’t count on it being hard to find ice time. But when a rink shuts down unexpectedly in a winter-sport-crazy town, even being a big name won’t help as people scramble for whatever they can get.

The first time Ethan Campbell hears from the local hockey legend he knew as a kid, Olivier manages to insult both his family’s rink and his new sport—curling. So he’s not exactly receptive when Olivier shows up in person to plead his case. He makes a sarcastic offer…and is shocked when Olivier takes him up on it. Ethan’s bad experience with hockey had left him cold. But soon he and Olivier are burning up the ice.

Ethan is tied to his town, job and family, while Olivier will be going back to Chicago to rejoin his team as soon as he’s able. It can’t possibly last…can it?

So what did I think?

Olivier St Pierre (what a wonderful name!) is a professional Ice Hockey player who is visiting his home town to recuperate from injuries that required major surgery. He needs private practice time to build up his strength and gets this by using the ice at Ethan’s family’s rink which is run by Ethan and his sister.

This was a sweet story, nothing too angsty just nice characters falling in love with some hot sex!

There were also some cute, funny lines. Here’s what follows after Ethan gives his friend Barry some advice about impressing the girl he likes by surprising her with a coffee….

“Is that what gay guys do when they’re dating? Do you buy each other caramel lattes?” He smirked then opened his own locker.
Ethan rolled his eyes. “Yeah, but not until we’ve met the parents…or after the fourth blow job, whichever comes first.”

Picks & PucksPicks & Pucks by Teegan Loy

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Rising men’s figure skating star, Justin Corrin, is coming home to train for the upcoming season and face his demons. The last thing Justin needs is to fall in love with a hockey player. Instead of getting rid of his demons, Justin is collecting more. He tries desperately to control his growing feelings for CJ Daly, but finds being with CJ keeps his nightmares away.

Justin isn’t the only one with problems, and hidden fears and secrets threaten to separate the two. With the pressure mounting, CJ starts to pull away, and Justin doesn’t know why. His skating suffers, and he decides to stop wasting his time on love and focus on winning the nationals.

If Justin can destroy his demons, he might have a chance for happiness on and off the ice. But if the demons win, Justin’s life could be ruined.

So what did I think?

The combination of Ice Hockey and Figure Skating was always going to ensure I liked this book – pure escape into a world of which I know absolutely nothing but have a fierce attraction!

Justin is an up-and-coming figure skating champion but his choice of sport has driven a wedge between his family. His father is a hockey coach and Justin also had the skills to play professionally so his father was disappointed by his choice. The death of his mother, his key supporter, has also haunted him for the last three years. He has LOTS of demons!

A relationship with an closeted ice hockey player – who was happy for the sex but put Justin down in front of the rest of the team – has also soured his opinion of men who play ice hockey.

I actually started reading this book without reading the blurb so the way the story unfolded was a bit of a surprise. A large portion of the beginning of the book is focused on Justin’s relationship with Danny (the closeted player) and it is along while before CJ enters the picture and captures Justin’s interest. I didn’t see it coming and was expecting the relationship with Danny to evolve. Anyway, I liked that the author didn’t make Danny the bad guy, he sort of redeemed himself and I ended up liking him.

I enjoyed the characters and the story. There was enough drama but maybe too many demons. I found Justin’s demons a little odd and a bit annoying although it was quite a unique take, particularly when they start exploding – that probably makes no sense but will once you read the book!

To find out more about T.A. Chase and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Devon Rhodes and her books visit her website.

To find out more about Teegan Loy and her books visit her website.

Buy the books from Amazon.

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Short stories from the DSP 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play (PART 5)

The Daily Dose from Dreamspinner Press is a collection of themed short stories  released every day in June. The 2013 theme is sport.

Nothing fires the blood like a little friendly competition. Anything from a meeting of the minds to full-body contact, these men are making a play. There are no losers in the game of love.

The stories in this review include:

  • Prize Package by Kyle Adams
  • Press Start to Play by Brianna Lawrence
  • Protection by John Amory
  • Riding the Board by Cate Ashwood
  • Sage Advice by Susan Laine
  • The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy

Prize Package (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Prize Package by Kyle Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When Jason Smith wins a contest he doesn’t remember entering, he earns a visit with The MeatGrinder, aka Trent Peterson. Trent expected a rabid fan; instead, he gets Jason, who knows nothing about wrestling, doesn’t care about the prizes, and would prefer to skip the official wrestling demo, please. Trent should be annoyed, but by the end of the day, Trent knows he wants more than one day with Jason. Now he just has to convince Jason that Trent is more than his alter ego.

So what did I think?

Brilliantly witty! Absolutely loved this story! Loved the characters, loved the plot and adored the humour.

Jason, who knows absolutely nothing about wrestling (just like me!), wins a contest consisting of a full day spent with The MeatGrinder, a wrestling star. Turn out Jason knew and crushed on The MeatGrinder back in school, back when The MeatGrinder was plain-old Trent and before he become famous. Jason, is also not the same guy he was in school, with improved looks he has also lost his shyness.

Prize Package had me laughing out loud on nearly every page. The comments made by Jason were brilliantly witty. He was definitely the star of this story!

Favourite line…..Jason in response to The MeatGrinder (Trent) flexing his pecs…“Oh my, you big stud, your dancing boobs have enchanted me with your hypnotic sexual magnitudeness.”…that basically sums it up!

5 Stars

Press Start to Play by Brianna Lawrence

Protection (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Protection by John Amory

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jamie is an anomaly in the shooting world: a relative newcomer who became a leading contender overnight. He’s representing the United States at the 2012 Olympics, and people are drawn to him both for his marksmenship and the past he refuses to divulge. During his downtime in London, Jamie visits a gay bar and meets a chipper young man named Ben. Despite Ben’s heartfelt offer of succor, Jamie’s mounting nerves over the Games and his scars from the past threaten the new relationship before the night even begins.

So what did I think?

This was short and sweet. What could have just been a casual hook up has the potential for so much more as Ben sees beneath Jamie’s exterior and recognises the sadness within.

After a night together, Jamie seems to have more hope “Your eyes. There isn’t as much sadness as before.” and he obviously has developed a trust in Ben, able to share the details of ‘The Incident’ which led him to take up shooting as a sport.

There is a cute HFN ending as Ben sends Jamie breakfast and a sweet note.

4 Stars

Riding the Board (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Riding the Board by Cate Ashwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Blake Emmerich arrives at practice, already apprehensive, to meet his new synchronized diving partner. When he sees Nick Freeman, Blake doesn’t feel confident about their chances. The day begins with Nick pushing Blake off the ten meter and ends with their coach cuffing them together to force them to deal with each other like the adults they’re supposed to be. Synchronized diving is about trust—how can you trust someone you can’t stand, no matter how hot you think they are?

So what did I think?

This was a interesting take on the enemies-to-lovers theme in the world of synchronized diving, not that Nick and Blake were truly enemies, it was more a case of Blake not really knowing or understanding Nick.

Their coach has a very interesting approach to getting them to work together which has some very interesting results for the men! The cuffs force them to spend every minute together and it becomes very difficult for them to deny how they feel about each other.

“He had thought he would barely make it through the week without killing Nick and now he was reluctant for it to end.”

It was a nice short story. 3.5 stars.
4 Stars

Sage Advice (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)Sage Advice by Susan Laine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Piper is a ballet dancer who has lost his footing—literally. Now his dreams are shot and he’s depressed enough that his best friend, Sage, lures him into a night of drinking and games. Except the game is truth or dare, and they end up doing less drinking and more confessing. Hidden secrets spill out and brazen acts draw the two men closer as they discover what really matters: if they’re winners or losers in the game of love.

So what did I think?

Very short and sweet friends-to-lovers story. A game of Truth or Dare provides opportunity for Piper and Sage (interesting names!) to reveal some interesting truths. Of course, they love each other and this is revealed but I also liked the reveal of the issues that Piper was facing. Piper is going through a really emotional period in his life impacting his career as a ballet dancer. The depth of Sage’s feelings are really shown in his ability to see something is wrong with his friend and his understanding.
3 Stars

The Magic Broom (2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play)The Magic Broom by Teegan Loy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

With the winter Olympics on the horizon, Cody Mikkelson’s editor assigns him several stories about athletes in the area with gold medal aspirations. But there’s a catch: Cody has to try all the sports when he interviews the athletes—and he is so not an athlete.

The day before his torment begins, four new guys move into the apartment down the hall, including the handsome Shane Spicer. Cody is immediately desperate to figure out if Shane is gay, but both men have busy schedules, leaving little time to socialize. So Cody heads back to work and goes to interview the local curling team, where among brooms, laughter, a sore backside, and an unexpected meeting, Cody finds he just might get his chance after all.

So what did I think?

I loved this book purely for the humour element. It was laugh aloud kind of stuff. Following Cody from one winter sporting event to the next was hilarious!

Here are some of my favourite bits – don’t read further if you think it will ruin your enjoyment of the story!

“The amount of work she put into her sport was either amazing or incredibly stupid, considering the only time anyone knew this sport even existed was for the two weeks when the Olympics were on television.”

“The next moment he was down on the ice with his face pressed against the cage of his helmet. That should be an interesting bruise. Someone would probably think he fell asleep with a waffle stuck to his face.”

“Cody knew what he would be thinking about, and it certainly wouldn’t be steering some sled down a giant slide made of ice. He’d crash on the first turn and probably break his dick or shatter his balls.”

I didn’t need the romance to enjoy this book although I enjoyed seeing Cody, even with his broken gaydar, finally get together with Shane.
“In my mind, I’ve already won the gold medal.”
“Me too,” Cody said. “And I suck at sports.”

5 Stars

Buy a book from the series from Amazon. (Select the 2013 Daily Dose: Make a Play link)

View all my reviews